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Memory Ball Toronto is back with its Sixth Annual Gala Event, proudly hosted by the Young Leaders Council of the Alzheimer Society of Toronto
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Author: Memory Ball

Aryn Gatto is new to the Memory Ball team this year. Aryn's passion and enthusiasm have been a huge gain for the Memory Ball team and we welcome her big smile and creative spirit.  Here are some words Aryn shared with us about her grandmother, who is living with Alzheimer’s disease, and some reflections on their relationship.  I have often thought that the following Shakespeare quotation aptly suits my Baubie: “And though she be but little, she is fierce.” Albeit a bit on the shorter side, my Baubie has always demonstrated remarkable strength.  Having lost her husband at a young age, my Baubie raised three children, including my wonderful mother, all on her own.  She took care of us as kids just about every Saturday for as long as I can remember.  She taught us how to tie our shoes, read to us, and took us on walks and little adventures around her neighbourhood. She always ensured that we left her house well-fed, made sure that we didn’t go outside with wet hair on those cold, winter days, and sent us home with a Dixie cup full of treats.  These are the little things that I know I, and my sisters, will always cherish.Snapseed All this to say, although it is difficult to watch our Baubie change and her Alzheimer’s disease progress, she has played a big part in my life and who I am today – that will never change. 

Review by: Amanda McMillan A touching story of friendship, compassion, and a look into the complex and intense nature of caregiving.
Directed by: David Bajurny
 sybil and betts movie still
What resonates most in this documentary is the true depth of the friendship between Sybil and her lifelong friend Betts, an Alzheimer's patient.   Her patience seems natural, even though she alludes to it being a skill that Betts had taught her over the course of their friendship. Her comprehension of the disease is neither overly clinical or overly simplified, but rather what you might call a working understanding of what the disease means to and how it affects Betts. Her positivity in the face of losing what you come to understand is less than a friend and more of a true sister, is not only inspiring but humbling.
Throughut the film, there is no sense  from Sybil, or Betts' family members, of martyrdom. There is no evidence of a mentality that can often, and rightfully so, be found in documentaries about illness, of suffering. They describe the diagnosis and its effect on Betts and her life as a journey, rather than a death sentence. This is best illustrated, quite literally, through Betts' art. Sybil, a seasoned artist and teacher, exclaims repeatedly through the film that she is enchanted by the way Betts' art developed as her disease did. She was taken by her new use of colour and expression, which only helped Sybil to truly see that Betts was still Betts, still a whole person, whose journey changed in the light of this complicated and difficult disease.